Now we know why Kobe Bryant was taking so long to have surgery on his finger. Because he wasn’t sure about even having it. Here’s the Associated Press today:

Lakers star Kobe Bryant says Tuesday on his Web site that he plans to forgo surgery to repair ligament damage in his right pinkie finger. Bryant says on kb24.com that he opted not to have surgery after learning recovery could be 12 weeks.

Although I play a doctor on television (and play husband to multiple supermodels in real life), I’m no expert on ligament issues in fingers. But let’s consider this. The regular season starts in around 7.5 weeks. If Kobe was out 10 weeks, that’s not so bad. Missing 12 is obviously a bit worse. And, it could always take more than 12. Could the Lakers still win and hang around for a playoff spot while Kobe was out? If so, Kobe should probably have the surgery now. If not, he’s probably doing the right thing in delaying it. And then the worry is if the finger will hold up all season and through the playoffs.

Here’s what Bryant said today on his official website:

“I have always felt that I can still focus and play at a high level even through various injuries. That’s really just part of the game. When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery. What it really came down to for me is that I just didn’t want to miss any time ‘punching the clock’ for the Lakers, given all we are trying to accomplish as a team this NBA season. I am just really excited and looking forward to being there with the guys when camp opens in a few weeks. That is a real bonding process and if I can avoid being on the sidelines for that, God willing, I will,” said Bryant.

I think the Lakers, featuring Pau Gasol, a healthy Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, would do OK for a few weeks without Kobe. Not great, but they’d hang around the 6th-9th West playoff spot. So, I’m not sure Kobe is making the right move by delaying the surgery. But again, medical info about the finger will help. I’m sure articles quoting medical experts will come out today and in the next few days, and I’ll be sure to quote everything worth knowing on the NBA Rumors page.

–Jeff